Keeping Your Cloud Computing Options Open

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Before Marrying That Cloud Provider, Be Sure It Isn't a Bridezilla

Six key questions to ask before selecting a cloud partner.

Just about everybody would agree that cloud computing is an IT journey, it's just no one is quite sure where that journey will take them. The lack of visibility has a lot of IT organizations opting to take a few baby steps towards cloud computing in 2012 versus rushing to implement a complete end-to-end strategy.

Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer for Dimension Data's Cloud Solutions Business Unit, says that's not a bad thing because about the smartest thing an IT organization can do is take a few small steps in the direction of cloud computing while still remembering to plan big. The simple fact of that matter is that no one can be absolutely certain what application workloads should be running where next year or the year after that.

In some cases, compliance and security issues will require them to run on premise. Other circumstances may allow them to run on a private cloud in a data center managed by a third party. Other considerations may allow for an application to run on shared infrastructure on a public cloud. It isn't clear which application workloads might be better managed by an internal IT organization versus the service provider. Whatever the outcome, the future of cloud computing is almost certainly hybrid.

For those reasons, Caindec says it's critical that IT organizations partner with cloud service providers that allow customers to keep their options open. Dimension Data, fresh off its recent acquisition of OpSource, today unfurled a full range of cloud services that allow customers to create a full private cloud or a comparatively simple compute engine server platform in a data center managed by Dimension Data. The company also gives customers access to traditional managed hosting services alongside those cloud services, and is now making available Dimension Data Cloud Control, a platform through which customers can manage private cloud deployments in either a data center operated by Dimension Data or their own data center.

While there's no shortage of cloud service providers these days, Caindec says the key thing to remember is only a handful offer a full range of services. And given the fact that nobody knows where their IT strategy might be a year or two from now, the best thing most customers can do today is find a cloud service provider that allows them to keep their options open.

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